5 Non-Toxic & PVC-Free Shower Curtain Alternatives

by Ron & Lisa Beres on February 12, 2014 · 50 comments

5 Non-Toxic & PVC-Free Shower Curtain Alternatives

Yes, your shower curtain or, more specifically, your plastic liner, is likely toxic. Most are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and off-gas dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) like toluene and xylene. No other plastic contains or releases as many dangerous chemicals including: dioxins, hormone disrupting chemicals called phthalates, vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, lead, cadmium, and organotins into the air you breathe. These chemicals can damage the respiratory system, liver, kidney, central nervous system, and have been connected to diseases such as cancer. PVC-containing shower curtains can emit 108 chemicals in the air according to studies by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, CHEJ. You can recognize this evil plastic (yes, I’m 100% comfortable calling it that), by locating the recycling number inside the triangle. PVC will always be a number 3 (not good for you or recycling). To get better equipped with the dangers to both your health and the environment, read our past posts: PVC? OMG? and PVC: THE POISON PLASTIC! Get Safer Supplies & Back to School Guides

But, back to your beloved bathroom and breathing easier! The good news is healthy alternatives to nasty PVC options do exist. We recommend hemp because it is naturally resistant to mildew and bacteria and can be machine washed. It also doesn’t require a plastic liner. Yes, they will cost you a bit more (but, you’re sooo worth it!). Here are some of our favorites. Let us know if you have a fave in the comments below.

5 Non-Toxic Shower Curtain Alternatives

1.) HEMP
Earthsake $119.00 – 100% pesticide-free Romanian hemp shower curtain. Does not require a liner. Resistant to mold and bacteria and dries quickly. It is machine washable.

GreenHome $105.00 – Romanian grown hemp which is grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The shower curtain will get wet, but will not leak through. natural resistance to mildew and bacteria, and can be machine washed to clean any grime buildup.

Rawganique $42.50 – $109.00 – Made from 100% organic European hemp grown. Sweatshop-free. PVC-free. Plastic-free. BPA-free. VOC-free. Dioxin-free. Metal-free. Use with or without a liner.

2.) LINEN
CoyuchiPVC-free shower curtain $214.00-$236.00 – Can be used with or without a liner.

Earthsake $126.40 – May be used with a liner or without-just squeeze the   water out of the lower edge after use and let it dry. Hangs from rustproof metal grommets. Cotton/linen is made in India from flax grown in France and Belgium, and 100% organic cotton from India.

3.) BIRCH
CoyuchiPVC-free shower curtain $158.00 – 100% organic cotton. Can be used with or without a liner.

4.) ORGANIC COTTON
CoyuchiPVC-free shower curtain – $162.00 100% organic cotton. Can be used with or without a liner.

GreenHome – $82.14 100% Certified Fairtrade and Organic cotton shower curtain. A second curtain may be necessary as a liner as these have a sheer like texture, but also works well alone for areas with a smaller splash factor.

LifeKind – $149.00. Non-toxic and PVC-free. Repels water naturally w/out liner. 100% certified organic cotton canvas.

5.) COTTON

So Well Made – $39.94. For a limited time, this also comes with a free organic cotton hand towel. Choose natural or white.

WATCH NOW:

Many of our readers made comments below about the above options being too expensive. Sometimes in life, you’re forced between choosing the lesser of two evils. In this case, if you can’t afford any of the above, then we recommend PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate) or EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) over PVC. While they’re not perfect (made from petroleum; a non-renewable resource and contains chemicals), PEVA and EVA are made from chloride-free vinyl which delivers touchable softness and waterproof function without the smell of traditional PVC vinyl. Both are PVC free, biodegradable, don’t off-gas and are affordable. However, buyer beware as a new study published in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences found PEVA toxic to living organisms. Further studies are needed to determine toxicity in humans. You can find these at BedBathstorePVC-free shower curtain $3.99+ or Target $9.99+.  Styles are also available from West ElmPVC-free shower curtain or Pottery Barn for only $12.00. Or, the PEVA liner from Cb2 for $9.95. They’re chloride & odor free and offer a safer alternative to PVC versions.

Also, buyer beware when it comes to liners. Steer clear of labels: mold or mildew resistant. This means that the product is or contains an antimicrobial chemical which interferes with the growth of mold and mildew. It does not mean that the product will kill disease-causing bacteria or provide a health benefit. Remember – shower to shower each day, but keep toxins at bay!

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie Liao Jones May 1, 2014 at 6:33 am

We started the trend and got a lot of support from Jessica Alba at her baby The Honest Company. We were the only shower curtain company featured in her directory. Check out http://www.RockCandyLife.com

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Ron & Lisa Beres May 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Wonderful – thanks for sharing! The products look great. Would love to see some solid naturals added to the line in the future.

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Tonya May 7, 2014 at 6:36 pm

After realizing just how bad a PVC product can be such as a shower curtain I’ve been looking for alternatives. The organic cotton seems like a winner and looks great

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Ron & Lisa Beres May 8, 2014 at 10:49 am

Hi Tonya! Yes, this is an often overlooked – but VERY important part of the bathroom and your overall health!

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Allison Lambert June 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Thank you for this list! This is something I haven’t found just looking in stores, so I’m glad to have a few I can order online! THANKS! :)

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Ron & Lisa Beres June 5, 2014 at 2:54 pm

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment Allison! Yes, it’s tricky to find the non-toxic variety in leading retail outlets (plus, so great to support these smaller businesses). Wishing you health + happiness!

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Dr. Marianne June 15, 2014 at 6:39 am

FYI…Your # 5 option is not bamboo. It is a bamboo design and made from PEVA. Even though PEVA is not chemically PVC, it is still a petroleum product with added antimicrobial chemicals. There are still many unknown, untested and unregulated chemicals in the material. It is more stable chemically, hence the lower odor (VOC’s) but I still would not recommend it to patients in my practice as a Naturopathic Physician.

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Ron & Lisa June 17, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Hi Dr. Marianne~
Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts. We do clearly state re: #5 in the description that it is made of chloride-free PEVA vinyl (but will add this to the title for clarity).
Actually, PEVA does not have added antimicrobial chemicals (unless stated otherwise) and we definitely mention above to AVOID these as well. We, too, recommend the hemp version both above (and in the video) as our #1 healthy choice, but do list the PEVA as #5 because it is a non-chlorinated plastic and is a much safer choice than PVC. Some people are not going to go out of their way to purchase the others and hence, this selection is better than PVC from a health and environmental perspective. This is a great post from the Healthy Building Network that explains in further detail the differences of PVC and other plastics Sorting out the Vinyls – When is “Vinyl” not PVC? and, as they state, “The term vinyl in ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA), polyvinyl acetate (PVA), and polyvinyl butyral (PVB), however, does not refer to PVC and does not raise the same concerns associated with chlorinated molecules like PVC. “

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Melissa November 19, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Lifekind sells a PVC free certified organic cotton shower curtain. https://www.lifekind.com/certified-organic-cotton-shower-curtain

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Ron & Lisa Beres November 19, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Thanks Melissa! We’ll be sure to check it out :) Happy (and healthy) showering.

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Fran February 2, 2015 at 5:48 am

I went to Gaim’s website under shower curtain liner and they do not have any such item. It is not the “curtain” per se that is PVC as they are a type of cloth. It IS the liner. Seems there is no real healthy alternative to plastic liners.

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Ron & Lisa Beres February 2, 2015 at 11:15 am

Hi Fran! Many times the curtains themselves are plastic and made of PVC. Other times, it is just the liner. Either way, the above points suggest organic fabrics that do NOT require a liner. Alternatively, you can purchase a PVC-free liner as indicated in the last paragraph (and as pointed out in the video) that are made from PEVA – a chloride free alternative. We hope this helps!

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Peter February 2, 2015 at 9:12 am

Gaiam no longer carries the PEVA shower curtains

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Ron & Lisa Beres February 2, 2015 at 11:10 am

Correct – thanks for the heads-up!

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Peter February 2, 2015 at 9:13 am

Try Target or Bed Bath & Beyond

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Ron & Lisa Beres February 2, 2015 at 11:10 am

Yes, great suggestion Peter! Just updated post since Gaiam no longer appears to carry these.

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Rachel February 2, 2015 at 8:12 pm

Hi–the only option here that is affordable for me is the PEVA, but I still don’t like that it’s made from chemicals. What about a fabric shower curtain?

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Ron & Lisa February 3, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Hi Rachel,
Yes, all of the options – with the exception of PEVA – listed above ARE fabric options. These are slightly pricier because they’re all organic (ie: not treated with synthetic pesticides. Learn more HERE). So, if you don’t want any chemicals at all – organic is the best option for you!

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Luke April 18, 2015 at 5:01 pm

Hi,

I’m in the market for a new shower curtain. I’m interested in hemp because by your recommendation it sounds like it’s the healthiest choice. In the video it mentioned that you “may or may not need a liner”. How do you determine if you need a liner? Aren’t liners plastic and should be avoided (the point of buying hemp in the first place)? Also if I buy a hemp shower curtain, should I let it sit on the inside of the tub if I’m not using a liner? Or do you need 2 hemp curtains, one hanging on the inside and one on the outside? Please let me know what your thoughts are :)

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Luke April 18, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Also, if you just use the hemp shower curtain, does it get wet and damp? Do you have to take any special measure to dry it or clean it? Do you have to throw it in the washing machine once a week? What’s the upkeep? :)

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Ron & Lisa April 20, 2015 at 1:46 pm

Yes, the hemp curtains do need to be washed so they do not build up mildew. Per one site ‘The shower curtain will get wet, but will not leak through. The hemp shower curtain will rapidly air dry which helps prevents mold growth associated with plastic liners. ‘ and ‘Our hemp shower curtain has a natural resistance to mildew and bacteria, and can be machine washed to clean any grime buildup. After machine washing simply hang the curtain up to dry, any wrinkles will disappear during showering. You may find it necessary to use a natural mildew preventative from time to time depending upon climate and your shower’s natural ventilation. ‘

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Ron & Lisa April 20, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Hi Luke,
Yes, I do recommend hemp as the #1 choice because it is resistant to mold and bacteria naturally and most are machine washable. Whether or not it requires a liner is specified by the manufacturer. The first two listed above do not and the 3rd is optional. Learn more here: http://www.natural-salt-lamps.com/natural-shower-curtains.html

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katie October 6, 2015 at 3:04 am

I just recently purchased a hemp liner and it does get soaking wet, and I wring it out and drape it over the rod to dry—but it does have a funky odor—even after I washed it—-I’m guessing it needs to be washed at least once a week, if not more—which is a bit more upkeep than I was looking for.

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Denise November 5, 2015 at 4:16 am

As open as I am to making changes and willing to spend a “bit more,” your first 4 alternatives are prohibitively expensive. I live in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in NYC and know that none of my neighbors, many of whom are struggling financially, could afford to spend $99 and up on a shower curtain. What is available and affordable is at the local discount store. It’s a shame that what is the most healthful, including non-toxic household products and organically grown foods, are beyond the budgets of so many.

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Ron & Lisa Beres April 5, 2016 at 4:19 pm

Hi Denise,
Yes, some of these are expensive, but consider it an investment in your health. I’ve added a natural cotton shower curtain as less expensive option (which isn’t organic). Or, you could use PEVA or EVA, but thanks to our reader Perla Middleton of ToxicFreeClub, she made us aware of a recent study on PEVA cited above. So, while it’s definitely a better and safer choice than PVC, it still isn’t our number one recommendation. We hope this helps. Remember, the more demand we all make for healthier products and solutions, the more readily (and affordable) they will become!

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Edward Strine October 7, 2016 at 3:46 pm

I clicked on your link for earthsake and it connected me to a different company. Do you still recommend earthsake?

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Ron & Lisa Beres October 10, 2016 at 4:27 pm

Yes, we have fixed the link (thanks for letting us know)! We definitely recommend Earthsake!

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